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Watson_WilliamWhat’s the winning recipe for real estate success? Every agent has their own. For William A. Watson, Jr., Chairman of the Board for Watson Realty Corp., REALTORS® in Jacksonville, Fla., the answer is focus. “I also believe you should prospect every day,” Watson notes. For more of his industry insights, read the following interview.

Region served: Northeast and Central Florida
Years in real estate: Since 1960
Number of offices: 40 sales offices; 29 property management offices
Number of agents: 1,173

Can you give us a quick snapshot of the market in your area?
Our market has had a 30 percent increase in activity over the past year. While that’s a nice increase, we’re starting to see some clouds. Over the month of September, we didn’t get as much volume, and we’re not sure if it’s tapering off or just stalling as school starts. Another thing that could be distorting our activity is our Summer Sizzle program, which went well, but is now over.

What made the Summer Sizzle program so successful?
With this program, the manager got the reward. Normally, we give the incentive to the salesperson, but this time we did it differently since the managers should be the ones motivating action.

As the market shifted over the past 12 months, has your company made any changes in order to keep up or adapt?
We’re getting low on inventory, so we need to go after more listings as well as put more emphasis on performance. Our brokers are cranking up their marketing, having come out with a program called “We Are Watson,” which is on billboards, in addition to being promoted through radio ads. While these don’t get you the business, they create the environment to get the business.

In your opinion, what is the winning recipe for real estate success?
I would say focus, and I also believe you should prospect every day. My favorite quote is, “The market never pays superior rewards for average performance,” which is something I really believe.

What sets your company apart from the competition?
We’re a little broader than most companies, as we have a heating and air-conditioning company, a plumbing company, an electric company, and we own a lot of our own real estate. We’re also really large in property management—probably the largest management of single-family units in southeast Florida.